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Monastic grange at Friary Court

A Scheduled Monument in Southfleet, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4139 / 51°24'49"N

Longitude: 0.3179 / 0°19'4"E

OS Eastings: 561282.844099

OS Northings: 170864.522559

OS Grid: TQ612708

Mapcode National: GBR YX.LSP

Mapcode Global: VHHP2.GQDH

Entry Name: Monastic grange at Friary Court

Scheduled Date: 9 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007464

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23028

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Southfleet

Built-Up Area: Southfleet

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Southfleet St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

Details

The monument includes the monastic grange at Friary Court, Southfleet,
situated on a gentle east facing rise in an area of chalk downland.
The upstanding remains of the grange date to the 14th century and are now
incorporated into the occupied house which was altered and extended in the
19th century. The standing building is Listed Grade II*.
Surrounding the standing remains are the buried foundations of associated
agricultural buildings as well as other below ground features which will
provide evidence of agricultural and horticultural activities associated with
the grange. To the north, south and east of the standing building are a number
of slight earthwork features including the remains of a hollow way up to 0.5m
deep which may have led to the church 300m to the north.
The grange was a possession of the Priory of St Andrew, Rochester. It is
mentioned in 1291 and 1535 amongst the possessions of the priory, and the
Church of St Nicholas at Southfleet is documented as having `six ancient
stalls, for the use of the monks of Rochester when they visited their manor
here'.
Excluded from the scheduling are the standing building and its cellar, garage,
garden sheds, concrete pond, gravel drive surface, fences, gates and posts,
although the ground beneath all these features is included except for the area
of the cellar beneath the house.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th
century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution.
This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon
imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers
(secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident
labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were
specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms,
bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and
industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the
wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands
immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange.
Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands.
On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the
parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular
farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the
size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the
buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to
be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was
without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed
is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of
monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small
percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of
identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the
evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to
medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological
survival are identified as nationally important.

Despite disturbance from recent construction, the monastic grange at Friary
Court survives comparatively well, with the immediate area around the standing
building having been left relatively undisturbed. The monument contains
archaeological remains and environmental evidence which can give an insight
into medieval farming practices as well as the way of life of its inhabitants.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1926), 124
Hasted, E, History of Kent, (1778), 271
Other
Wallom,, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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